Wednesday, 9 July 2008

River page 2


< go to page 1

‘You, get back in line!’ the fat overseer said one day, pushing her with his stick. Kima moved aside and avoided it, and then ran up to join the back of the line. The overseer caught up with her in his horse.

‘I don't want to see you holding back behind the column again. Don't think for a moment that I'm not watching you. Next time you fall back, I will show you what this is for.’ He bent his flexible stick and then let it snap in the air.

‘I like the mules,’ Kima replied, in his language. ‘I like walking next to them, is all.’

The overseer seemed taken aback, he didn't expect her to reply. ‘You snotty mouse,’ he said, and lifted his stick and whacked her, hitting a man standing beside her in the same motion. ‘Keep your mouth shut, and keep walking!’ The overseer rose his horse to a trot and rushed to the front of the column.

‘Don't be stupid,’ hissed a woman next to Kima. ‘Your arrogance is bad for all of us.’

Kima thought that what was bad for them was how easily they agreed with everything. But she didn't speak. She rubbed the back of her head where the stick had hit her. It was pulsing with pain.

The woman didn't think the matter was settled. ’She is a stupid one, she will get us all punished,’ she snarled, to no one in particular. ‘We should help keep an eye on her.’

Later that day there had been singing in the plantation. The oversees where out of sight, and the slaves had started clapping a rhythm and singing while they kept working. Kima didn't join in. She felt far away from them, as if they were out of focus.

-> Chapter 7


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